American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe (top right) spoke with today about the recent reports that Jeff Archuleta (bottom left, with David and mother Lupe), the father of 17-year-old Idol contestant David Archuleta, has been barred from participating in his son’s preparations for the show. Here’s what Lythgoe had to say:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: There have been reports that Jeff Archuleta was banished from backstage, but then David’s vocal coach gave a radio interview in which he said that wasn’t the case. What light can you shed on this?
NIGEL LYTHGOE: “Banished” is a terrible word, isn’t it? It sounds like we’re in some far-off kingdom. He has been asked not to participate in the choice of music with David or be in the room when David is working out his routines that he wants to sing. He’s fine to be in the studio — nothing wrong with that. We just want David to be able to be free like everybody else to get on and do what they want to do.

Does that have anything to do with the lyric change during David A.’s performance of “Stand By Me?”
There was a lyric change that happened that was a total misunderstanding. Just another, um, step along the way of us saying, “Okay, this is what we want to happen from now on.”

The vocal coach had said Jeff being asked not to participate backstage was more of an issue of fairness, essentially that David Cook and Syesha Mercado don’t have anyone helping them out choosing songs or making arrangements.
No, no, no. It has nothing to do with fairness. We just want everyone to have an equal opportunity, and if that’s fairness, fine. But this is more of just the fact of let’s take some pressure away here, you know? It’s like anybody appearing in front of their mom and dad. Let’s just open up the pressure cooker, release the pressure, and you just get on and do what you gotta do.

The rap on the father is that he’s a bit of a stage dad.
And what is a stage dad, or a stage mom? It’s someone who’s protective. That’s all.

(Click here for’s latest episode of Idolatry, focusing on dream song choices for the final 3.)